Mike Patton addressed mental health issues: "I got freaked out by being around people"

Mike Patton performing live
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mike Patton has revealed the circumstances surrounding his last-minute decision to pull out of all of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle’s North American shows in September 2021.

In a statement, Patton explained that it was due to “mental health reasons” which were “exacerbated by the pandemic”. 

“We have a family member who needs help,” the band said at the time. “We believe that forging ahead with these dates would have had a profoundly destructive effect on Mike, whose value to us as a brother means more to us than his job as singer. He can count on our 100% support to do what he needs to do to get things right. Just as we also ask for your support right now.”

Faith No More were due to resume their tour in Christchurch, New Zealand on February 10, but ultimately, all live activity was scrapped, with UK dates and a European festival run affected by the decision. 

In a brand new interview with Rolling Stone, the vocalist has revealed that isolating for two years during the pandemic brought on the anxiety disorder agoraphobia. 

“It’s easy to blame it on the pandemic,” says Patton. “But I’ll be honest, man: at the beginning of the pandemic, I was like, ‘This is fucking great. I can stay home and record.’ I’ve got a home studio. So I was like, ‘Yeah, what’s the big deal?’ And then something clicked, and I became completely isolated and almost antisocial [and] afraid of people. That sort of anxiety, or whatever you want to call it, led to other issues, which I choose not to discuss.

“It was a little bit of everything,” he adds, when asked by Rolling Stone as to whether alcohol or substance use played a part. “But mostly, in my experience, it was mostly mental. I saw some therapists and all that stuff, which is the first time I ever had to do that in my life. And they basically diagnosed me as having agoraphobia; like, I was afraid of people. I got freaked out by being around people.

“And maybe that was because I spent two years basically indoors during Covid. I don’t know. Maybe it reinforced feelings that I already had. But just knowing about it, talking about it, really helped.”

Patton goes on to explain that things came to a head just before rehearsals for the tour which was due to start in Missouri on September 16.

“That’s when I kind of lost it, and it was ugly and not cool,” he says. “A few days before we were supposed to go on the road. I told the guys, ‘Hey man, I don’t think I can do it.’ Somehow my confidence was broken down. I didn’t want to be in front of people, which is weird because I spent half of my life doing that. It was very hard to explain. And there were some broken feelings on both sides about it, but it’s what I had to do. 

"I knew that if I kept pushing, it could have been some sort of disastrous result," he adds. "It was just like, ‘Goddamn it. Maybe I don’t need to do this. Even though I agreed to do it, and it’s gonna bum a lot of people out. I gotta take care of myself.’ So I’m getting better at that.”

Patton, who is undergoing therapy and AA, implies that he has not communicated with his bandmates following the cancelled tour, and is unsure as to whether they’ll reconvene at a later date.

“[There's been] radio silence,” laughs Patton. “I don’t know. We may reschedule stuff; we may not. I’ll just leave it at that. It’s a little confusing and complicated. So if we do, we do. If we don’t, that’s cool, too.”

As reported earlier today, Patton’s other band Dead Cross – featuring his Fantômas bandmate Dave Lombardo, The Locust's Justin Pearson and his Retox colleague Michael Crain – have released a video for the song Reign of Error

It's taken from their forthcoming album II, which is due on October 28 via Ipecac Recordings.

Watch it below:

To read the full interview with Mike Patton, visit RollingStone.com.

Simon Young

Born in 1976 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Simon Young has been a music journalist for over twenty years. His fanzine, Hit A Guy With Glasses, enjoyed a one-issue run before he secured a job at Kerrang! in 1999. His writing has also appeared in Classic RockMetal HammerProg, and Planet Rock. His first book, So Much For The 30 Year Plan: Therapy? — The Authorised Biography is available via Jawbone Press.